Welcome to the Second Annual Game of the Year Article from theguysfrom.com!
Once again I needed a couple of extra weeks here at the beginning of 2017 because I wanted to try a couple more games from the year before I wrote this article up. In the end, I'm feeling pretty good about my choices, but with a few caveats:
- I'm just one guy, so that means that everything here is completely my opinion, and that means that I also only have so much time to dedicate to gaming (on top of everything else) so there are definitely games that I have not had a chance to play yet.
- I am a PS4 gamer; I don't have a XBox, I have a Wii (but felt not impetus to buy a Wii U, or now, after the big reveal conference, a Switch), and my PC runs...some...things...but it is meant to write on, not game...so if you're here for Gears of War or Mario has a Sandwich...you will be sorely disappointed, though many of the games I talk about are multi-platform, I just play them on PS4.
- I could've asked Dave what he thought, but the answer would've been Far Cry 3, so that helps no one.
- Just like last year, I'm going to give you guys a set of categories (which will shift around a bit), so I can talk about a few experiences...
With that in mind, here are theguysfrom.com's Game(s) of the Year!
Best Narrative: Firewatch
I know Firewatch split opinions in the gaming community, but I absolutely loved the story. Again, like last years' winner (Everybody's Gone to the Rapture) Firewatch is a "walking simulator" which tells the story of Henry, a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest in 1989 who has taken the isolated job in order to escape from the (seriously heartbreaking) troubles in his life, and who gets wrapped up in a mystery involving some weird goings on with him and his supervisor Delilah.
I'm not going to describe this one too much, because this game would not be the same if you had a lot of details, but suffice to say, it was the most interesting story I experienced last year in games. While I understand some people's distaste toward the ending (grounded in realism, and actually really sad when you think about it), this was a game where, thanks to absolutely excellent voice acting from Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones, I came to care about two characters I had just met an insane amount, PLUS, Delilah is only ever interacted with over walkie...which is just...awesome. The emptiness and loneliness of the forest (rendered in that great art-style you see in the trailer above) becomes a character in itself, as the feeling I got from my characters' surroundings changed as the story unfolded...and the fact that, through dialogue options, I felt like I had (in a small way) my own story? Awesome.
If you hesitated on this one, I'd say grab it (especially as it is often on sale now, if you were hesitating on the 20$ price tag for a game that took me roughly 5 hours, and I was thorough).
Biggest Surprise: Party Hard
I am aware that Party Hard came to PC in 2015, but I did not really have access to it until 2016 (again, PS4 guy here) and my God do I love this game.
Now that fondness may have something to do with my Hitman loving roots, as Party Hard is an 8-bit action stealth game where you play as a serial killer who JUST WANTED TO GET SOME ********* SLEEP, slaughtering whole (loud) parties, while trying not to get caught by the police, or killed yourself in some horrible accident. All of the action takes place on a single screen, and becomes something like a puzzle as you wander around setting up traps, and sometimes just stabbing folks and then dancing to avoid suspicion.
This game has a spectacular soundtrack, and is pretty much everything I want in a puzzle game (the main character is dressed like Jason Voorhees....I mean come one), and each one can always be solved. The soundtrack is dope, and I occasionally go back to levels I have previously finished to listen to the track...and it all combines into a game that I took a chance on, and now am splitting apart so as to enjoy it for as long as I can.
Best "New to Me" Game: Until Dawn
Considering Until Dawn ended up hitting #23 on my Top !00 Video Games list I just did...longtime readers should not be too surprised by this one...even though this category had some really tough competition in it with South Park: The Stick of Truth and Alien: Isolation, but Until Dawn...wow
I have to believe that Sony had no idea what they had on their hands when it came to this game; it out Quantic Dreamed Quantic Dream (although yes, Detroit: Become Human looks amazing) In terms of making what is, as far as I am concerned, the best interactive drama video game of all-time. Until Dawn is literally a really good teen slasher style horror movie that you get to play, and where you can actually see and feel your influence on proceedings; any (and all) character(s) can die, or none of them can...while the points you hit are always going to be close to the same, my playthrough of Until Dawn was completely different than yours, and my next one (and there will be a next one) will be completely different from either of those...
Hell, this was better than most of the horror movies I saw last year, and considering my Top 10 Films of 2016, that's saying something.
The Obvious GOTY Answer Considering I'm All PS4'd Up: Uncharted 4
Look, let's not kid ourselves here: the answer for most PlayStation-centric places has something to do with Uncharted 4 because it's Uncharted. 4.
Yet another masterpiece by Naughty Dog, and....look the thing is, I have only played a bit of Uncharted 4, and while I thought about making sure that I got through it before I talked about GOTY, I sort of felt like it would be more interesting if I left that to...everywhere else (with the Overwatch split, of course), and took this time to talk about other games that were amazing this year.
Plus, to be honest, I was in the mood for some other things, and I don't need/want to force myself into playing Uncharted 4 top to bottom, because I know I will love it when I finally do, but I have played enough to see the writing on the wall...
Honorable Mention GOTY: Far Cry Primal
I love the Far Cry series, I loved being a caveman, and I am very, very pleased that I have the Platinum Trophy in this game, even though it means I will probably never play it again...and I hope that, after we get another mainline Far Cry game (soon), that they give us another strange interstitial game like this one, set in another crazy era, because....really...riding a sabretooth tiger was THE BEST.
TGF Game of the Year 2016: Inside
I actually considered Inside for "Biggest Surprise" as well, but I think that I was less surprised by Inside if only for the fact that it was made by Playdead, who made the incredibly atmospheric Limbo.
Inside is such an intricate game, and it is really quite fascinating; it is essentially a puzzle-adventure game where you play as a young boy who is solving environmental puzzles in a horrifying, dystopian world (and trying not to die...but if you're like me, you are going to fail at that...a fair amount). I'm usually not one for puzzle games, but Inside (and indeed, Limbo) are just right for me; I never felt like there was something obtuse that I needed to do ("hey, I need this loaf of bread and a dead sparrow to get that lightbulb to work!"), but there were a few times that I actually had to slow down and think about what I needed to do.
The 2.5D art is spectacular, the sound is so cool (and perfect for the game; very synthy, but apparently it was put through a human skull to give it a "hollow, chilled" sound....which is not creepy at all), and the story....
Well the thing is, there's not one line of dialogue in the game; you have to suss the story out yourself while (and after) playing it, which is just brilliant. I have to say that I wasn't sure how I felt when I finished the game, but I have caught myself thinking about Inside more than any other game since, and I have grown to like it more and more....to the point that it is out Game of the Year for 2016.
I'm not going to spoil anything for you when it comes to Inside as this is a game you need to experience, but feel free to chat with me on Twitter if you want to try and figure out what happened....
Thanks so much for continuing to support theguysfrom.com, and I look forward to hearing from you about your favourite games of 2016.